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The History of Flower Crowns

Janet Sclafani

Even though flower crowns have become extremely popular at weddings or festivals, they are not a novelty. The fresh flower head halo has been a favorite accessory all over the world for centuries. 

Today, flower crowns are fashionable and trendy. Especially for vintage and neo-hippies style lovers. And these headpieces which date back to ancient civilizations aren't going out of fashion any time soon. 

This look has its history and roots. It had great symbolic meaning in agrarian societies, where it could illustrate accomplishment and status. Flowers even appeared as dress embellishments in different traditional clothing. And it's still present. 

Since ancient times, horseshoe or circular shape crown has been a symbol of power, eternity and glory. Ancient Rome and Greece had crowns made from wool and ivy leaves. 

Through time, flowers evolved as a woven embellishment on traditional dresses in diverse cultures. And with increased industrialization, flower crowns became a sign of simple, 'country' life. 

While brides continued using flowers in ceremonial traditions, it was hippies who influenced its modern incarnation. By decorating their hair with windflowers, it signifies their connection to nature. 

Are you interested in knowing it's symbolism, history and current use? Then let's dive in. 

History of Flower Crowns

In Ancient Greece, flower crowns were a popular accessory worn on special occasions to honor the gods. Later, laurel leaf crowns became more common and were used to award army soldiers to honor their achievements. 

When Greece started to host Olympic Championships, the winners of athletic competitions got olive wreaths as an award.

The ancient Romans maintained the idea of the crown as a reward for a victory. Leaders and military personnel wore crowns made of oak, laurel, or myrtle. The grass crown was the greatest military honor. 

Much like today, floral wreaths were worn on celebrations and festivals, especially at events like feasts and sacrifices to Gods. 

When we take a closer look at Green men depicted on drinking parties, they often wear wreaths. Greeks believed that tying them tight around their heads might ease their drunkenness. Originally made out of the wool, those wreaths were decorated with flowers. 

Rome even hosted a festival, Floralia, in honor of Flora, goddess of flowers, spring, and vegetation. Thus, a head accessory made from flowers and interwoven vines was an absolute necessity. 

When Christianity spread in the world, flower crowns fell out of fashion because it was associated with pagan religions. In Christianity, wreaths represent the resurrection of the Christ, i.e. the eternal life. 

However, the decorative head accessories made a comeback in Renaissance art.

Symbolism of Floral Crowns 

Flower crowns are part of Ukrainian traditional folk and dress. Young unmarried girls plucked fresh flowers and made traditional crowns for themselves, signifying that they were of marriageable age. People believed that that wreath helped them find their beloved one. It also protected them from bad spirits and evil forces.  Today these traditional accessory is often seen on special occasions and festivals. 

In Russia, girls wore flower wreath for fortune telling. They would float those wreaths down the river to envision their relationships by interpreting the flow of the water.

Floral garlands and wreaths are used as dressy attire and gifts representing respect to someone in Polynesia. Worn by both men and women around the neck or head, the wreath is made of vines, flowers, leaves and plant fiber. 

Indigenous Americans also used wreaths in their culture. The Cheyanne tribe wore them during sacred ceremonies, dances, rituals, and songs. Willow, sage or cottonwood were the main ingredients of their head wreath. 

Women in China wore orange blossom flower halo during a wedding. Orange trees bloom and produce fruit at the same time. Therefore, in Chinese culture it symbolizes fertility. 

Besides white wedding gown, Queen Victoria was a pioneer to bring flower crowns into European fashion. She wore orange blossom halo at her wedding to Prince Albert in 1840. 

In modern times, especially as the 1960s, flower crowns are associated with hippie culture. Since it became a fashion accessory, it symbolized peace and love. And even though hippie style was a subculture of the time, it influenced mainstream fashion and brought flower crowns back in style. 

Modern Meaning of Flower Crowns

If over the centuries flower crowns symbolized fertility, celebration and love throughout history around the world, today it's not only that anymore. 

It's not another popular hair accessory either. Many women, like Frida Kahlo, used these wreaths as subtle rebellious hints of their identification with empowering social movements and free-spiritedness. 

20th-century painter Frida was very well known for her self-portraits wearing flower crowns. She was already subversive and revolutionary to traditional norms of beauty with her severe looks, unibrow and braided hair with ribbons. 

For her, like for many other artists, flowers symbolized sexuality. She didn't paint her like anyone else. She didn't want to separate her sexuality and personality from her femininity. 

But why are we still obsessed with those flower crowns? Even though modern flower headpiece may not be about traditions and symbols, they still represent the same - victory, romance, love, peace and femininity. 

Today, it'an integral part of festivals and many weddings. More and more brides make floral wreaths part of the wedding gown. Floral wreaths show the personality and style of the wearer. 

If it was fresh flowers in the past, in today's fashion world, it's artificial. Or even made from a textile. Jasmin Larian, a 26-year-old founder of Cult Gaia, created her line because she was wearing floral wreaths to go out as a student in New York.

Now celebrities like Vanessa Hudgens, Paris Hilton, Miley Cyrus and Kendall Jenner wear her silk flower crown. 

However, she is not the only one in the market. There are tons of different shops offering custom-made or off-the-runway designer options of everlasting flower crowns.

And one fact is evident. This floral headpiece nowadays is a fashion statement that will continue to be stylish in upcoming years.

Want to have a beautiful crown of your own? Contact us for more information on custom-made flower crowns.  

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